Inclusion and
Community Life

From Head of School John P.N. Austin:

“In our recent update on inclusion and community life, I outlined two broad goals:

The first is to sustain and deepen a climate where all Deerfield students can thrive and flourish in a community of respect and care for one another.

The second is to intentionally support a learning culture that honors the disparate beliefs of a diverse and dynamic student body drawn from across the United States and around the globe. This includes a commitment to free and open inquiry, and to expressive freedom—a freedom that includes ideas and opinions that some may consider disagreeable, unwelcome, or unpopular. 

Inclusion—the art of creating a powerful sense of community that recognizes and honors each student’s individuality and imparts to them a full and equal sense of belonging—is the foundation of Deerfield’s work as a school—and it’s a collective undertaking. Fundamentally, inclusion is about the kinds of relationships we create as adults with students, and the kinds of relationships our students forge—across race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and socio-economics—with one another: in our dorms, on our fields and performance stages, and in—and outside of—our classrooms. It’s about the quality of our advising, mentoring, coaching, and teaching—the quality of the relationships we create each day with students in all of our interactions with them.”


Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history. The campaign for a federal holiday in Dr. King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

Each year, the Deerfield community gathers together to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King through a day of workshops, guest speakers, performances, and volunteer work. 

Programs and Events

Cross the Valley is Deerfield’s campaign to expand and sustain cultural competency among all community members – a key phase of the Strategic Plan for Inclusion. Cultural competency skills allow us to communicate across differences even when it seems like we’re mountains apart. With new students and employees joining Deerfield each year, the need for building and practicing cultural competency skills remains a constant in our community. When we cross the valley, the entire community benefits.


The Office of Inclusion and Community Life works to ensure that Deerfield Academy encourages acceptance and understanding of differences pertaining to race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, geographical origin, and sexual orientation at all institutional levels. Through trainings, lectures, special programs, and short and long term strategic goals, the office collaborates with all departments to support a campus-wide conversation and effort leading to the development of institutional priorities for sustaining diversity work.

2020–2021 Inclusion and Community Life Task Force

Shastri Akella 
English Teacher

Paulina Baltazar
CSGC Program Coordinator

Heather Brown
CSGC Associate Director

Amie Creagh, Chair
Assistant Head of School for Student Life

Roland Davis

Ivory Hills, Chair 
Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and Strategy

Erin Hutchinson
College Advisor and CSGC Assistant Director

David Miller
Director of Educational Initiatives and Assistant to the Head of School for Special Projects

Mark Scandling
English Teacher

John Taylor, Chair
Dean of Faculty

2020–2021 Discipline Review Task Force

Chijioke Achebe ’21, Student Body President

Sam Bicknell, Dean of Students

Willy Conzelman ’21, Senior Class Representative

Amie Creagh, Assistant Head of School for Student Life (convener)

Claire Cummings ’21 Senior Class Representative

Dr. Ivory Hills, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and Strategy

Sheryl Koyama, Director of Academic Support, Math Teacher, and Academic Honor Committee/Disciplinary Committee member

Angela Osei-Ampadu ’21, Student Council Chair

Conrad Pitcher, History Teacher and Academic Honor Committee/Disciplinary Committee member

Dr. Josh Relin, Director of Counseling

Mark Spencer, Dean of College Advising


  1. Steven Lee

    Dir. of Office for Inclusion & Community Life
    Inclusion and Community Life

Frequently Asked Questions

A fully inclusive and supportive school culture that embraces and honors the individuality of each student requires systematic effort across every dimension of school life. This is the foundation upon which our Strategic Plan for Inclusion was built, and our Vision Statement for Inclusion is as follows: “We are a community that values and affirms the distinct identities and differences of each person. Diverse perspectives fuel creative and innovative thinking, build empathy and consideration, and provide varied skills and experiences from which the entire community benefits. As a community, we consider cultural competency essential to the pursuit of excellence and success, both on campus and beyond.”

The Deerfield Academy Strategic Plan for Inclusion may be viewed here.

Our student handbook and policies make clear that Deerfield does not tolerate hateful speech. In furtherance of our expectations for respectful and responsible behavior on and off campus, we are in the process of conducting a comprehensive review of our policies to ensure that they are well understood and the consequences are clear across our campus community. That review will continue over the course of the fall and include input from students, parents, and faculty.

Contact Inclusion and Community Life

Main School Building

7 Boyden Lane
Deerfield, MA 01342